Saturday, July 22, 2017

Savoury Stir Fry Sea Clams (Lala - revisited)


Yesterday we had sea clams cooked our favourite style.  Savory stir fry is most favored style though we do have them cooked in wine at times.  We saw some nice large meaty ones at the wet market and we could not resist and bought half a kilo back and we had a great dinner with this mouth watering dish. There are many ways to cook this sea clams, I have yet to try cooking them in Thai style.   Seafood is my favorite food if compared with meat. I know I have to control my diet on seafood but it will be nice to indulge in them once in a while. The self appointed dietitian ( the Wildboar ) will be there to monitor my purchasing of seafood  * snickering . Anyway, this style of cooking is classic and most people knows how to cook this.  Savory and flavors packed.


fresh and meaty sea clams ( lala )
 

half a kilo of lala fits nicely into my korean stone bowl :)
 my favourite bowl for that matter


Savoury Stir Fry Sea Clams
 
ingredients
1/2 kilo sea clams ( Lala) - soaked in salt water for 20 mins - rinse and drain off water
 (A)
1 tbsp of chopped garlic
3 bird's eye chillies - chopped
3 slices of ginger - julienned
2 pickled sour plums
1 tbsp of fermented beans ( tauchu)
a pinch of sugar
1/2 cup water
1.5 tbsp of rice bran oil
spring onion and coriander for garnishing
Method:
Heat up 1 1/2 tbsp rice bran oil in a wok , add in ingredients (A) and saute till fragrant.  Add in the sea clams and stir fry till it turned pinkish. Add 1/2 cup water and cover wok with lid and cook for a further 7 mins.  Open lid and when all the clams has opened up, add in a pinch of sugar. Dish up and garnish with spring onions and coriander leaves.
Enjoy !



Thursday, July 6, 2017

Steam Minced Pork With Preserved Vegetables


This dish brings back childhood memories. I don't know about you but my grandma and mom used to steam minced  pork with preserved vegetables known as ' tung choy' in cantonese  for our lunch and dinner. My siblings and I practically grew up having this dish most of the time for our lunch and dinner.  Easy to digest and it is comfort food.  And lately, I cook this very often  for hubby and myself as this dish is easy to whip up and very appetising and whenever we feel like eating something steamed and not fried. This dish goes well with rice and porridge. Real comfort food for us :) 

 I like to steam them in rice bowls instead of in a deep dish
as I feel it is easier to keep the leftover if we cannot finish
them in one meal.  I will just cling wrap the remaining unfinished
ones for the next meal. Neater this way and more presentable :)

 Hubby loves to have more gravy thus you can see
lump of minced pork floating in the gravy :)


Steam Minced Pork With Preserved Vegetables

ingredients:
300 g minced pork
 3 tbsp of preserved vegetables/tung choy - soaked in water for 10 mins, rinsed and chopped into smaller pieces

* optional  - 1 tsp of garlic -  minced and fried into garlic crisps ,
spring onions - sliced for garnishing

seasoning ingredients
1/2 tbsp of light soy sauce
1/4 tsp of white pepper 
1 tbsp cornflour  
1/2 cup of water   
1/4 cube of chicken stock (maggi seasoning) 
* optional 1 tsp of garlic 

Method: 
Mix together minced pork with preserved vegetables and seasoning ingredients in a big bowl till well mixed. Leave for 15 minutes. Divide the minced pork mixture into 3 or 4 bowls or one 1" deep dish.  Spread out and level meat very gently with the back of a wet metal.  Drizzle the arlic oil over the top of meat.  Steam in a wok or steamer over rapidly boiling water for 15 mins or cooked through.  Garnish with garlic crisps or spring onion.   

Enjoy!



How To Organize And Store Food In Your Kitchen

As the kitchen is the heart of any family home, and you’ll find yourself in there throughout the day whether it’s to cook or eat with the family; you want it to be an organized haven and an enjoyable place to be. You may well keep your kitchen immaculately clean; however, where you store your food and ingredients can have an effect on how smoothly your kitchen space can run. The following are some things to take into consideration if your kitchen is due to be reorganized, and if you need to start unpacking what you bought from the grocery store n a different fashion.



Your Refrigerator

The first place that you’re likely to head after you’ve been shopping for food is the fridge freezer; it’s essential to get certain things into a cool and cold environment as soon as possible. Therefore, you’ll want to grab all your dairy first, and head towards the middle and door area of the refrigerator. Milk should go on the bottom shelf; however, many of the large bottles don’t fit in there, and you run the risk of spillages, so you can pop it in the side of the door instead, so it’s easy to grab when the kids want cereal. Butter, cheese, and eggs should be where the temperature is most consistent; so right in the middle where you can grab them with ease, is perfect.

Your fresh fruit and vegetables will have their own designated drawers to sit in; many veggies like a little humidity, so the vegetable drawers will provide the right environment for storing them successfully. Keep your pre-packed salads, and crispy leaves in the original packaging will help to retain their freshness for longer. It’s also super easy to reseal the bags with a suitable clip or tie, so you can grab a handful of lettuce whenever you need to liven up a sandwich or meal.

Most fruit prefers low humidity, which is why there’s a separate drawer in most fridges; this will help apples and pears stay crunchier for longer (yum). Lemons and other citrus fruit can quite happily survive out of a storage bag, so don’t worry too much about wrapping them up before you pop them in the fridge. Try and avoid the temptation of washing your fruit and veg after you’ve bought them home, and just before they go into the refrigerator; too much moisture can promote the growth of mold, which can then spread around each area. 

Raw meat and fish should go on the very bottom shelf of the fridge (you may have to move some items from there) so that any potential blood and juices don’t drip and contaminate the rest of the food. Again, the bottom of the refrigerator is often the coldest, and the colder the environment is, the better and fresher your raw meat will be. It’s vital that any raw meat and fish produce is packaged and as airtight as possible; it’s the only way to ensure that bacteria from each item doesn’t spread to foods that won’t be cooked.

The door of your fridge is usually the warmest; so soft cheeses, mayonnaise, ketchup, and other condiments can happily live there. If you’re running out of room in the main area of your cooler, then you can also move any hard cheeses and butter to the shelving in the door too. Any fruit juices and soda can live wherever you have space left, and it will often depend on how cold you want them; so put them away last of all, as they don’t need to be urgently stored.



Your Cupboards And Shelves

Your shelves, cabinets, and if you’re lucky enough to have one, your pantry space, can hold a multitude of ingredients to add to all of your best recipes, so it’s worth putting some thought into organizing them carefully. Think about items that you grab the most; if salt and pepper are a seasoning must-have in your culinary space, then store them somewhere that you can reach with ease. Your dried herbs and spices should also go somewhere accessible, so that you can grab them and liven up your cooking, without having to search for ages.

Bulky cans and jars that provide the base of one-pot and liquid cooking should be stacked neatly and kept in a cupboard that’s easy to access. You don’t want any accidents if you have to lift a heavy jar while you stand on
stool; so the bottom shelf of one of your kitchen cabinets is the perfect place for chopped tomatoes and chickpeas.

When it comes to your rice, pasta, and dried noodles; you can make a feature out of them by decanting them into various jars and displaying them on your kitchen shelves. For some kitchen storage solutions, take a look here. However, if you don’t want to display your food, you can simply leave them in their original packaging and pop them in a cool, dry cupboard or pantry space. As these are often frequently used ingredients to many meals; you should again, put them somewhere you can access with ease, to avoid spillages (you don’t want to be picking up dried rice for weeks to come).

If you enjoy spending time in your kitchen and are passionate about cooking a variety of meals; you’re likely to have an array of different cooking oils and vinegars. Ingredients in glass bottles can make decorative and attractive items on your kitchen countertop, and you’ll want to be able to give your pan a good glug of something at the beginning of each meal. Therefore, you can create a shelf inside a cupboard, or outside as an interior design feature, to house your array of dinner staples.

Back to some fruit and vegetables again; potatoes, onions, and garlic prefer a dry, dark, and cool environment when they are being stored. Therefore you might want to invest in a container that will fit into one of the cupboards under the counters in your kitchen, and that will comfortably house the veg that doesn’t want to live in the fridge. By working out what you use the most in your cooking; you’ll be able to figure out a storage system that works best for you and your family.




Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Steamed Egg With Salted Yolk And Minced Meat



I am so happy that I finally managed to steam a perfectly steamed egg dish , with smooth and wobbly texture . Of course thanks to Sifu Wendy of Table For 2 or more.  Now, I can slap that to WB's face :p because every time I steam this dish, he has lots to complain.  I  would normally order this dish for him from the restaurant whenever we eat out.  Now I guess, there is no need to order this dish anymore ! I am finally able to master this dish  :)  I used her recipe but added salted egg yolk and minced meat instead of using krill.  It turned out fantastic.  To make it more like how this dish is being served in restaurant, I made some sizzled soy sauce with fried garlic to be pour on surface.  So yummy good. 


hubby's  favourite steamed egg with salted egg yolk :)


 instead of steaming in one dish
I separate into two rice bowl, one for each :)


at first I thought I have over steamed but when I shake the bowl it
wobbles ...a relief


pour the sizzled soy sauce with fried garlic...
it brings the dish to another level..:)

smooth velvety texture.....taste so good
and we both finished one bowl each :)

Steamed Egg With Salted Yolk And Minced Meat - adapted from Table For 2 or more

ingredients :  
2 eggs  - whisk
1 salted egg yolk - mashed
2 tbsp of minced meat - a quick dip in boiling water - strained - keep the water (A)
a pinch of salt
1 3/4 rice bowls of water -  (A)
a dash of ground white pepper 
1 tsp of oil

a drop of sesame oil to grease the bowls

How to make the sizzled soy sauce with fried garlic  
3 cloves of garlic - peel off skin and chopped fine
2 tbsp of rice bran oil
1.5 tbsp of soy sauce

Heat oil in wok, once oil is hot add in the chopped garlic and stir fry till crispy, pour in 1.5 tbsp of soy sauce. It will sizzles. Off  heat and pour the aromatic sauce over the steamed egg dish only when serving or the soy sauce will seeped into the steamed egg.

Method:
1. Break eggs into bowl , add in mashed salted egg yolk , salt and pepper and whisk till well mixed. Let the mixture sit, while you prepare the minced meat . The eggs will water down.

2. Boil 2 bowls of water, once the water boils off the heat and strain off the water, keep the water.  Add the cooked minced meat and 1 3/4 rice bowls of the water that was kept aside to the egg mixture. Give it a light whisk. Grease two rice bowl with sesame oil.  Pour the egg mixture into two rice bowls.

3. Prepare the steamer and place a rack, enough water about 5mm lower from the rack. Bring water to boil.  Place the two bowls of egg mixture on the rack. Cover with lid and steam for 12 mins  or till cooked on medium lot heat.  Take out and pour sizzled soy sauce with fried garlic on surface and serve immediately.




Sunday, July 2, 2017

Till Death Do Us Part.........


The above photo is meaningful to us both...the vow we recited to each other 3 decades and 4 years ago has been honored to date. ...We both love that particular part.. "I.... take you......to be my wedded husband/wife....To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better , for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness "  steep in Baptist tradition but a good one .  Together we went through storm, hardship and suffering and we emerged STRONGER ! Through the test of fire we know were meant for each other ! God has blessed us with two kids and recently with another two grown up 'new kids'.

We pray that God will allow us to grow old gracefully, and keep us in good health and continue to bless our relationship with Him being always first in  our life. 


After the vow exchange, blessings from our beloved Pastor Richard Chung.


 this is us today as you can see I have truly 
taken good care of him, feeding him well as you can see the difference
 before and after marriage :p
and he has taken good care of me being the good soulmate
and mentor :) Thank you for honoring the vow :)

HAPPY 34TH ANNIVERSARY


We had lunch at Dozo Sushi Japanese Restaurant
to celebrate our 34 years together


 my all time favourite Salmon and Avocado Salad


 Salmon & Ikura Don


Sushi Platter


Ikura Sushi for Wild Boar

Wild Boar loves Ikura sushi


 I dont know how we could finish all these...
really we are big eaters


Dessert was Matcha and Strawberry Ice Cream

We had a great lunch and we will definitely come back to taste the rest of their menu. Service is good and the seafood is fresh.  




Friday, June 30, 2017

Putien (莆田) Iced Bitter Gourd Slices Dipped In Honey

When I posted up on facebook on my homegrown bitter gourd, I asked my friends for new ideas on how to cook the bitter gourd other then braising with pork ribs , add them to omelette, cook them in soup and cold salad .  A dear friend Lynnette came to the rescue and suggested that I try this Putien Iced Bittergourd Slices dipped in honey.  I have never tried making it , but it sounds easy. Thus when I harvested my round and fat lil' bittergourd, I  tried my hands at making it with her descriptions of the dish.  I googled for Putien Iced Bitter Gourd and I got the whole picture on how to prepare this refreshing starter. The bitterness from the bitter gourd is balanced perfectly with the sweet fragrant honey that my son and daughter Elaine bought back from New Zealand for us.  This honey is really delicious, has a new fragrant and it perfect for this refreshing starter.  Thank you Lyn for introducing me to this healthy and delicious starter platter.

* Putien brand name has its roots traced back to Putian , a beautiful coastal town located in the Fujian province of China. Surrounded by spectacular ocean views.


my round and fat homegrown bitter gourd


slice the bitter gourd into thin translucent slices and soak them
in iced water for 3 mins 
or 
you put shaved ice on the bitter gourd slices  when serving
I soaked the slices in cold water for 3 mins then drained off the water

I used this honey from NZ ..very fragrant,
a perfect dip for the iced bittergourd slices

the toasted black sesame seeds gives character to the honey dip

the slices are crunchy and so refreshing
nothing beats homegrown edibles


Putien (莆田) Iced Bitter Gourd Slices Dipped In Honey

1 bitter gourd
Honey Dip

2 or 3 tbsp of Hortika Honey Dew or any honey of your choice
1 tsp toasted black sesame seeds - * optional

 Method:
Slice bittergourd as translucently thin as possible.  Soak in ice water for 3 mins or you can just add shaved ice on the slices when serving.  

To prepare the honey dip
You can use any honey of your choice. I used Hortika Honey Dew which is light and fragrant . Adding of toasted black sesame seeds gives the dip character.  It is optional.

Enjoy !

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Smoked Black Pepper Chicken


Love this simple to prepare smoked chicken.  I would first steamed the chicken for 15 minutes , rub salt and black pepper and dried mixed herbs on the chicken and let it rest for 2 to 3 hours so that the chicken is well seasoned before smoking it. Hubby loves this preparation as it gives the chicken meat a woody flavor.  I used boh tea leaves and sugar to smoke the chicken.  I will place the tea leaves and sugar on the aluminium sheet so as not to spoil the wok.  Sometimes I do smoke the chicken in the oven but smoking them in a wok is much easier and cost effective :)  I used two chicken breast with wings still attached , one for hubby and the other one for me :)  I love the easy cleaning up too...Just throw away the aluminium foil and  making washing the wok  much easier.



 rub salt, black pepper and dried mixed herbs onto
the chicken and let it rest for 2-3 hours before
smoking

lay a sheet of aluminium foil on the wok, throw in some dried tea leaves and sugar
place a rack over the aluminium foil and let the seasoned chicken parts sit
on the rack. Cover wok with a lid and heat up wok under medium heatand smoked till chicken is golden brown and cooked through...about 20 minutes

Smoked Chicken 

1 whole chicken - cut into 4 parts with skin on

2 tsp of ground black pepper
1 tsp of dried mixed herbs
3 tsp of sea salt
1 piece of aluminium foil big enough to cover base of wok

4 tbsp of tea leaves - any choice will do

1 tbsp of brown sugar

Method:
Marinated chicken parts with black pepper., mixed herbs and sea salt and leave to rest for at least two hours. ( I would prefer if marinate overnight in the fridge ) Steamed them in a boiling steamer until the chicken parts are half cooked.
 
Prepare the wok for smoking process.  Place a piece of aluminium foil at the base of wok.  Throw in the tea leaves and brown sugar and mix evenly.  Place a rack  over the tea leaves mixture.  Place the steamed chicken parts on a bbq aluminium netting tray and place the tray on the rack . ( If chicken parts are big enough to sit on the rack, then you can omit the netting tray.  Cover  wok with lid and set the stove fire on high.  Smoked the chicken parts for 20 mins until the chicken turned golden brown and has the distinctive smoky flavor.
 * I like the chicken skin to be crispy and to allow the fat to melt away , thus the chicken skin looks darken but rest assured it has the crisps.


Looking For A Mackie Professional Compact Mixer ?

I know I have been talking about musical related stuff besides sharing of my kitchen tested recipes :) The reason being hubby and I are  hanging out with some musically talented friends most of the time and they are nuts about  musical stuff  . I guess soon I will be like one of them :p Anyway, I am beginning to love these musical talented people in my life. Since retirement, hubby and I are able to enjoy our hobbies, me and my photography and hubby , he and his music.  Before retirement, we are each busy with our jobs and we didn't have time to enjoy our hobbies. Now , we are having more time hanging out with our friends of 34 years friendship and having time for our hobbies is the best thing that could happen in our lives at this point :)

Okay , back to my own personal review on something I just learned from our meet up recently. The topic of discussion was on this Mackie profx12 which one of them is thinking of getting for his mid size performance venue.  As you know , our group of friends are band people and doing performances for wedding dinner functions and festive events.  Their lastest  review on Mackie Pro FX12 is interesting. This Mackie ProFX12 has a 12- channel mixing console with integrated effects , a complete and simple solution for small to mid-size performance venues. This compact mixer has 6 Mackie low-noise, high-headroom mic preamps to ensure a pristine signal while LED metering and 60mm faders on each channel to keep levels in check. Comes with a Tracktion 3 Music Production Software. Want to know more about this Mackie profix12, just log in to Guitar Center, mackie profx12  to get a full review on it.

After reading through the write out on it, I am sure this compact mixer is the ideal one for our friend to have for his band performances as this compact mixer will be the solution for his mid-sized venue.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Zucchini Noodle Salad With Wafu Dressing


I have taken a liking to zucchini and zucchini flowers. I have added them to my list of dishes to be served more often in our daily meals.  Today, I am making salad out of zucchini. Julienne them into long noodles and served as salad. Zucchini noodle salad with wafu salad dressing is a hit with the family. For me, personally, I find this salad very delicious and refreshing especially served chilled. For healthy conscious people, this is one good one, little calories and zucchini eaten raw preserve more nutrients than cooked ones.  Try this , you will love it if you are a salad person.  I AM!


I used this hand held shredder to julienne zucchini noodles

pour in the wafu dressing and give it a quick mix
before adding the toppings


garnish with bonito flakes and toasted seaweed

Zucchini Noodle Salad With Wafu Dressing

Ingredients:

1 zucchini - julienne into zucchini noodles
1 red onion- sliced thinly

topping
bonito flakes
toasted wasabi flavored seaweeds

Wafu dressing - adapted from Just One Cookbook

1 tbsp of grated onion with juice
3 tbsp of vegetable oil * I used rice bran oil
3 tbsp of Japanese Soy Sauce
3 tbsp of rice vinegar * I used Japanese grain vinegar - it taste better
1 tbsp sugar
freshly ground pepper
1/2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

Method:
Put all the dressing ingredients above in a small bowl.  Whisk the ingredients together to create a perfect blend.  Leave it to rest for 20 mins to allow  a more intense flavor.

Prepare the Zucchini Noodles
Julienne zucchini into long noodles .  Lay them on a salad plate together with the onion slices.  Drizzle the salad dressing over the zucchini noodles . Topped with bonito flakes and toasted wasabi flavored seaweeds.

Note:  I like it chilled. It taste better if chilled.  Can be served at room temperature.



Friday, May 26, 2017

Stuffed Roast Chicken With Rosemary And Lemon Thyme

It has been a long time since I last roasted a whole chicken. I would normally roast either wings or half chicken or sometimes just chicken legs for our dinner. Yesterday , I decided to roast the whole chicken and stuffed the cavity with leeks, diced carrots and diced potatoes. The drippings from the chicken during the process of roasting will further add flavor and sweeten the veggies stuffing.  Easy to prepare and as the saying goes " killing two birds with one stone "  we have meat and veggies cooked at one go :) 

It feels like Christmas has come early.  The seasoning consists of ingredients like sea salt , black pepper and raw honey. For extra flavors,  I added fresh herbs like rosemary, lemon thyme to give texture and fragrance to the chicken and butter on the chicken to give it a glaze look after roasting. It is good to marinate the chicken overnight to have a more intense flavor.  I used greaseproof paper to line the base of the baking pan for easy washing :)  Nobody likes the washing, that includes me :p I love to cook but I hate all the washing that comes with the cooking !


I baked the leeks, diced carrots and potatoes for 15 mins in the oven @200C
before stuffing into the cavity of the chicken..reason being it helps to soften
and gives extra flavor and with the drippings from the chicken, the veggies
stuffing will taste delicious !

this is the reason why I love to plant my own herbs, I use them often :)

stuff the cavity with the roasted veggies last
place the chicken on a rack with a lined tray and roast for
50-55 mins @200C

Hubby loves the skin to be crispy and a bit charred
and the fat under the skin has melted away....

rest the chicken for 15 mins before carving
smell so good...

I craved out half the breast for the hubby before taking a picture
this photo is not well taken as the carved side, texture is not clearly defined ...
still room for improvement... food photography is the hardest I guess for me :p

Stuffed Roast Chicken With Rosemary  And Lemon Thyme 

ingredients 

1 whole medium sized chicken of your choice

seasoning for the marinating the chicken
(A)
1/2 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp of raw honey
(B)
a few sprig of lemon thyme
a sprig of rosemary
a tbsp of butter - room temperature 

veggies stuffing
1 carrot - diced to bite sized
1 leek - sliced
2 potato - diced to bite sized black pepper
a tsp of sea salt
a dash of ground black pepper

* bake the cut veggies in oven for  15 mins before stuffing into the chicken

Method:

Marinate chicken overnight or for at least 4 hours with ingredients (A). Roast the cut veggies for 15 mins @200C . Take the chicken out of the fridge 1 hour before roasting, Rub ingredients (B) all over the chicken and spread butter all over the chicken.  Stuff the roasted veggies into the cavity of the chicken . Place the stuffed chicken on a rack on  a lined baking tray and roast for 50-55 mins @200C. Rest roasted chicken for 15 mins before carving.

Enjoy!









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